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Posted on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

Washtenaw County's unemployment rate falls to 5.7%, second lowest in state

By Lizzy Alfs

Washtenaw County’s unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent to 5.7 percent in October, making it the second lowest among Michigan’s 83 counties, according to statistics from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

At 5.7 percent, Washtenaw County trails Mackinac County’s 5 percent jobless rate.

In line with seasonal expectations, payroll jobs in Washtenaw County rose for the third straight month, adding 3,600 jobs in October.

Most of the jobs gains were due to local and state educational institutions restaffing for the school year and seasonal positions, according to the report. The government sector added 9,100 jobs in Washtenaw County in the past two months, which is in line with the seasonal average.

Private service-providing industries added 700 jobs in October, professional and business services added 900, and other service sectors like trade, transportation and utilities each added 100 jobs over the month.

The number of Washtenaw County-based jobs rose in October to 201,100, up from 197,500 in September 2011 and 199,500 in October 2010. The number of employed county residents rose from 167,500 in September to 170,300 in October.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

It really is sad that there are still people like Billy Bob out there that feel that people on unemployment are lazy! It must be nice to not live in the real world. I do live in the real world and I have been unemployed for over 2 years. Even though I was very thankful for the unemployment check it is only about a 1/3 of what my normal take home pay was. And, no, I didn't get fired or quit my job....the business I worked for went bankrupted, like so many in Michigan has and has placed hundreds of people on unemployment. Unlike what you may think, Billy Bob, I have been actively looking for a job all this time. I have a BS from University of Michigan in the health care field but it seems that either I am over qualified or under qualified. Billy Bob, your ignorance should embarrass you! There are not many middle class jobs out there...mainly low income or the 1% executive jobs. Also, some companies won't even consider you, no matter what your qualifications are if you have been unemployed for more than 6 months. And most check your credit history now too. Before unemployment, my score was in the high 700's now it is in the low 600's because of my situation. I really hope you never find yourself unemployed Billy Bob, cause it is no vacation. Most of us are educated, middle-class hard working people that want to work. Also, most of us don't get food stamps and own very average used cars. I spend about 60 hours a week looking for a job! Also, another important fact for you to remember, most of the reason why that percentage goes down is cause our unemployment checks run out before we are able to find a job! And I am one of them!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

To those folks that landed a job... I am very happy for you. It is very hard to believe these posted percentages... I encounter many people still out of work (some for over two and a half years). I would like to impress upon those interviewer's out there...give people a chance to show you they are great workers, hire them on the spot...not a waiting game of hire or not...Trying to find a job is harder than going to work....


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

I will say this until I am blue in the face. This "drop" in unemployment, while good, does not reflect the number of ppl who are working temporary jobs (often with NO healthcare) or who are otherwise marginally employed in some fashion or who are no longer on unemployment like the above commentator. Also, this number is surely impacted by the holiday season and come January, expect this number to rise as most, if not all seasonal help is let go. Happy to see ppl working in some capacity, but don't want a false panacea to be slathered over reality, here.

Karen Hart

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

This delightful trend is occurring in part because of people like me, who exhausted their unemployment benefits and still don't have a job.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

to Cinn--that seems like an effective solution and not at all barbed. Have you considered a career in headhunting?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Karen whats going on? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

Glad I can be part of that decrease.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Now if only the other 5.7% lazy bums would get up off their fat rear ends, turn off the giant screen TVs they bought with food stamps, take showers, put on nice clothes, get in their Ferraris and purple Cadillacs, and go out and get a job, things would *really* be great! Sorry, but I just wanted to feel totally ignorant and be the first to say this. It's great that Washtenaw is doing better than the rest of the state. Now if we could get government off ITS lazy rear and get some jobs going, things would really be grreat!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

Awesome post Billy Bob!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

Well it worked, you made me believe you are very ignorant.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

Of course government can not create jobs. I mean all those people who are employed by the military are easily created by the &quot;private sector&quot;. Building roads are also jobs created by the private sector. I know the next time a bridge needs to be build on Stadium we should wait for a private business to fund the bridge and figure out a way to make a profit. How about the Stadium Bridge becomes a toll bridge. I know police and fire are jobs we want done by the private sector too. It works well to have a private company decide what laws should be upheld and not. I mean hell they did it in Iraq with Haliburton, why not just hire them to run our police and fire. Things have gone so smoothly there. Conservatives and their talking points are so silly it is laughable.

Brian Kuehn

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:23 p.m.

I do not think we should expect &quot;government&quot; to create jobs. Actions by state &amp; local government can make it better for business to hire more people. That would be my preference.